The TIO Council met four times in the second half of 2011. Sub-committees of the Council also met over this period.
At its July 2011 meeting, the Council noted the reappointment of Chris Dodds and Loretta Kreet as consumer representatives. Jonathan Matthews, joint CEO of Intelligent IP Communications, attended his first meeting as elected industry representative.
The Council received regular reports on three reviews that had the potential to impact the operations of the TIO: the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy review, the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s Reconnecting the Customer review, and the regular external review of the TIO required under its Constitution, which was conducted by KPMG at the request of the TIO Board.
Among other matters, Council discussed and provided advice on the following matters in the second half of 2011:
- A trial of an amended process for consumers who contact the TIO reporting that they have tried without success to contact their service providers (the attempted first contact trial).
- The implementation of a conciliation process before the TIO initiates investigations, noting a corollary reduction in the amount of time it takes to resolve a complaint.
- The development and implementation of a new complaints management system for the TIO. The system – named RADaR - will increase efficiency and effectiveness for service providers and consumers. RADaR is scheduled to go live on 2 April 2012.
- Emerging issues in complaints, noting that in the first quarter of 2011-12 there had been an increase in complaints about smart phones and mobiles, while complaints about landlines had fallen, consistent with reducing landline usage.
- The TIO’s outreach activities with particular reference to work in indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.
- Ongoing changes and improvements to the TIO Constitution and Jurisdiction to reflect the dynamic nature of the industry.
The Council continues to examine the following strategic issues likely to affect the TIO and its stakeholders:
- Provisions for credit and spend management in existing laws and regulations, and the possibility for change through the Telecommunications Customer Protections Code and the Reconnecting the Customer review.
- How service providers deal with issues of financial hardship.
- Volatility in the number of new complaints received by the TIO.
- Identifying and analysing root causes of complaints received and using this data to assist industry to reduce the incidence of complaints, as well as encouraging development of improved complaint handling procedures.
- Monitoring emerging services (such as m-commerce) and changes in industry structure (such as NBN) and the potential for generation of new complaint types from such changes, while identifying ways to proactively address such issues in a timely fashion.
In addition, the TIO Board and Council participated in a joint workshop in July 2011, convened by the Ombudsman, to begin the process of developing the TIO’s strategic plan for the period 2012-15. The Council continues to contribute to the development of the plan by the Ombudsman, which should be finalised early in 2012.